What American 5th graders want to know about London

24 Apr

The other day my mom asked me if I’d be willing to speak to her fifth grade class about what it’s like living in London. So thanks to the magic of FaceTime, I was able to video chat with a classroom of students halfway across the world today. One by one they got in the “hot seat” in front of the school’s iPad and asked me their questions.

“Have you seen Big Ben?” The first girl asked.

“Yes,” I said, but as a trained journalist I know nobody likes a one-word answer, so I tried to elaborate, adding that I could walk there from my flat in comfortable shoes.

Another student asked me about the weather — a proper British question. Then someone asked me to do my best British accent, while another wanted to see what the money looked like, so I held up notes and coins to the camera.

Then two girls approached the hot seat together.

“We just wanted to tell you that there’s a boy here who thinks you’re cute,” they said. I smiled as the whole class erupted into laughter and oohs as the girls named the boy.

“Ouch, you called him out!” I said.

“That’s all we wanted to say,” the girls said with a giggle, and returned to their seats.

A few of the students had been to London before and asked about any recent changes. One asked me if Jaffa Cakes were any good. Another student asked me about high speed trains. (Is that a thing in London? I talked about the EuroStar to Paris, but bullet trains always make me think of Asia, not Europe. But in a country that only has Amtrak (and it takes 9 hours and 42 minutes to go from Cincinnati to Chicago), I guess any train seems fast.)

The time went by pretty quickly and I hope I was able to entertain the kids and teach them a little about another country. As my mom was about to end the session, a boy popped up behind her.

“I just wanted to say one more thing — fifth grade’s crazy!” he shouted. And then everyone laughed and my 15 minutes of fame as the “cute” Londoner were over. Now it’s time to get back to work and start the laundry (maybe I should have shared that fun British fact: my washing machine is in my kitchen and the dryer is in the bathroom.)

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